[box cover]

North to Alaska

Does anyone find fistfights funny? Someone surely must have, because 1960's North to Alaska is filled with comic punches and bruises. Perhaps it plays up to the awkward ways men express their affections for each other, but just the same, watching someone getting hit in the face rarely elicits a laugh, even when accompanied by Looney Tunes type music. Essentially a screwball comedy masquerading as a western, North to Alaska has John Wayne playing Sam McCord, an Alaskan miner who strikes it rich with his partners George and Billy Pratt (Stewart Granger, Fabian). George got into mining to win his sweetheart's affections, so he sends Sam to Seattle to fetch her, only for Sam to find her already married. Sam knows it'll break his partner's heart, so in desperation he goes to a whorehouse and finds Angel (Capucine), whom he figures would be an acceptable replacement — after all, it's been three years and George might not know the difference. From there (rather obviously, at that) it is Angel — whose real name is Michelle — and Sam who fall for each other. But not only does that put a cog in Sam's scheme, the town's newest grifter Frankie Canon (Ernie Kovacs) is looking for any way to cheat Sam and his partners out of their gold mine. Directed by studio hack... er, veteran Henry Hathaway, the North to Alaska features the sort of elements that work best in a Howard Hawks film, since Hawks knew how to balance comedy and action; Hathaway has none of Hawks' finesse, and the movie could have been much better had someone been more thorough with the editing shears. Hathaway was good at letting stars be stars though, and Wayne is sturdy in this, even if it's the sort of role he could sleepwalk through, while Capucine radiates her foreign elegance. Pop star Fabian is mostly used as the butt of the jokes, while Kovacs never shows the charm that made him a television legend. Though shot entirely in California, the film does make good use of its CinemaScope lens, and the scenery is stunning. Fox presents North to Alaska in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and Dolby Digital 4.0 audio. Extras include a one-minute Movietone excerpt on the film's premiere and trailers for this and other Fox westerns. Keep-case.
—DSH



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